Whitehorse City Council

Starting a Food Business

> What You Need To Do
> Community Groups
> Food Safety Programs
> Food Safety Supervisor

The Food Act 1984 requires that all businesses that manufacture, sell, handle, prepare, package, store, serve, supply, or repackage food must be registered with their local council. There are two exceptions, namely raw meat and seafood manufacturers, processers and retailers (licensed by PrimeSafe) and dairy manufacturers and distributors (licensed by Dairy Food Safety Victoria).

What You Need To Do

Follow these steps to register your business: 

  1. Contact Council’s Town Planning and Building Department

    All applicants must first contact Council’s Town Planning and Building Department on 9262 6421 to obtain written information as to whether:
    - A planning permit is required for the proposed use and/or development and
    - A building permit is required for the proposed premises.
  2. Contact Environmental Health Unit

    It is recommended that you submit plans as part of the Application for Pre-Registration. This will assist in approving your registration efficiently by ensuring that the premises comply with relevant standards and minimise the risk of having to undertake costly remedial work. The service also incorporates the costs associated with onsite progress and final inspections.

    To obtain a Pre-registration Application for plans, contact the Environmental Health Unit on 9262 6197 or email your request to customer.service@whitehorse.vic.gov.au together with a copy of your town planning and building documentation. 
  3. Construct and fit out your premises

    If you have lodged plans, you are entitled to progress inspections during construction.

    Where plans have been submitted, during construction, contact the Environmental Health Unit to organise a progress inspection. This inspection assesses compliance with the requirements of the Food Act and Food Standards Code.
  4. Complete fit out and apply for registration

    Once the fit out of the premises is completed:
    - Obtain a copy of the new occupancy permit or certificate of final inspection for the building permit. This must be provided to the Environmental Health Unit.
    - Book your final inspection for registration. This inspection assesses compliance with the requirements of the Food Act and Food Standards Code. 

    When the Environmental Health Officer is satisfied that the premises complies, an Application to Register will be given to you which you will need to complete and return to Council.

Where a building permit is required, please:

  • Submit a copy of the building permit with the endorsed plans to the Environmental Health Unit

For information regarding the town planning requirements please visit http://www.whitehorse.vic.gov.au/Forms-Planning.html.

For information regarding the building requirements http://www.whitehorse.vic.gov.au/Forms-Building.html.


Community Groups

Depending on the food your community group or not-for-profit body is selling, you will be classified into one of the following depending on the risk and number of consecutive days you are selling food for.

  • Class 2: community groups that prepare high-risk food that is cooked, refrigerated and then reheated. For example, festivals selling rice dishes which have been pre-cooked, stored in a coolroom and then reheated; or that prepare and sell high risk foods that include raw ingredients that are not subject to a 'kill step'. These community groups must register with Council and have a Food Safety Program (based on a template). Community groups in this class do not require a Food Safety Supervisor.
  • Class 3: community groups that handle and sell high risk food, cooked with the intention that the food is sold for immediate consumption, such as hamburgers, egg and bacon rolls etc. These community groups must register with Council and keep mimimum records: pdf icon Food safety guide for community groups Class 3 (3.74MB)
  • Class 4: community groups operating a sausage sizzle (sausage, sauce, onion and bread only); selling tea, coffee, biscuits, pre-packaged or covered cakes (without cream); or selling low risk, pre-packaged, foods. The event/activity can run for no more than two days at a time. These community groups must notify Council 

To assist community groups or not-for-profit organisations wanting to raise funds by selling food, click on the following links to view Department of Health information that assists community groups to understand and meet their food safety obligations when selling food to raise funds in Victoria:

Food Premises Pre-registration Application 

All new food businesses should submit two copies of floor plans and specifications in accordance with Council's pdf icon Guidelines for Registering Commercial Food Premises (1.52MB) for the design and construction of food premises.

Businesses planning to operate from a domestic kitchen should also refer to pdf icon Operating a Domestic Food Business (72.68kB) and pdf icon Fire Safety Guidelines - Mechanical Exhaust System (430.95kB)

Plans and specifications should be drawn to a scale of not less than 1:100 showing:

  • The layout of all fixtures, fittings and equipment 
  • A description of materials to be used for surface finishes including walls, floors and bench tops 
  • Locations of waste disposal area, bin wash area, storage areas, toilets, cleaner’s sink etc.

To submit your plans, please contact Council's Environmental Health Unit on 9262 6197 to request an Application for Pre-registration Approval form.

Food Safety Program

It is a legal requirement for all Class 1 and Class 2 food businesses to have a Food Safety Program in place before they open. A Food Safety Program is a written plan that shows how your business will manage the safety of the food you prepare, serve, manufacture or sell.

The Food Safety Program can be based on a Department of Health and Human Services approved template (a standard FSP) or be an Independent (or non-standard) FSP (audited by a third party auditor).

A hard copy of the Department of Health and Human Services Template 1 version 3 (for Class 2 Retail and Food Service Businesses) is available from the Whitehorse Civic Centre or you can download the template from the Department of Health and Human Services website. To assist your business in complying with the food safety program record keeping, please download the pdf icon  Food Safety Program Template Version 3-12 Month Record Booklet (738.59kB).

A computer generated template can be created at www.foodsmart.vic.gov.au (a copy must be printed off and kept at the food premises).

Further information regarding Food Safety Programs can be found at the Department of Health and Human Services website.

Food Safety Supervisor

Class 1 and Class 2 food businesses will need to have a nominated Food Safety Supervisor. This person will be responsible for the implementation of the Food Safety Program. The Food Safety Supervisor is a person who:  

  • Knows how to recognise, prevent and alleviate the hazards associated with food handling at the premises
  • Has a Statement of Attainment that shows the required food safety competencies from a Registered Training Organisation (RTO)
  • Has the ability and authority to supervise other people handling food at your premises and ensure that food handling is done safely.

All Class 1 and Class 2 food businesses are required to provide Council with the name and qualifications of the Food Safety Supervisor. This is usually done by submitting a copy of the Food Safety Supervisor’s Statement of Attainment. Further information regarding the roles and responsibilities of the Food Safety Supervisor can be found at the Department of Health website.